In order to achieve optimal health, it is crucial for your body to digest and absorb nutrients in addition to eliminate waste products appropriately. In addition to digestive complaints, poor digestive health is often times related to many other health conditions including autoimmune disease, allergies, fatigue, skin conditions, arthritis, weight gain or loss, asthma, and headaches to name just a few.
- Heartburn, indigestion, gas, and bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Dysbiosis – gut bacteria imbalances or candida overgrowth
- Food allergies, celiac disease, gluten intolerance
- Inflammatory bowel disease: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Hypochlorhydria and pancreatic insufficiency
- Gallbladder disorders
- Liver disease
When assessing one’s digestion, Dr. Mercer considers whether the person’s diet is beneficial for them, in addition to looking for any signs that their digestion may be suffering from dysbiosis (an overgrowth of harmful bacteria) or sluggish digestive processes due to low stomach acid or pancreatic enzymes. First and foremost, a healthy diet is the core to healthy digestive function.
A diet that includes an abundant amount of fresh vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats provides the desired nutrients for optimal wellness. Even if you believe you are eating an ideal diet, if your body isn’t able to break down, absorb, and utilize your nutrients, you are unable to fully benefit from the food you are consuming.
There a number of reasons why a person may not be able to utilize the nutrients that they consume. Food allergies or sensitivities, insufficient digestive enzymes, and an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the digestive tract can all contribute to poor digestion. Food allergies or food sensitivities affect most people at some time in their life.
Identifying food allergies can be a challenge; however, through the use of blood tests in combination with an elimination diet, they can be revealed. When a person continues to eat a food that their body has a difficult time digesting, it can cause irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to heartburn, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and leaky gut syndrome. In addition to intestinal damage caused by foods, an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria (dysbiosis) can cause many digestive complaints including gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Dysbiosis is identified via stool samples, treated by eradicating the unwanted bacteria and replenishing the digestive tract with good, beneficial bacteria.
One of the reasons why your digestive system is crucial to all aspects of your digestive health is that 70% of your immune system is associated with your digestive tract. This mechanism assists in keeping microbes and allergens from negatively impacting our health.
If a person suffers from ill digestion due to poor dietary choices, dysbiosis or sluggish digestion, the immunity in their digestive tract is compromised. When the immunity of your digestive system is weakened, many other symptoms can arise including all of the digestive complaints previously mentioned in addition to allergies, frequent infections, fatigue, skin conditions, autoimmune conditions, and many more.